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John's SuicideJohn’s eventual demise is not a defeat or an escape. It is an act of...

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elliefray527 | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 6, 2008 at 8:40 PM via web

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John's Suicide

John’s eventual demise is not a defeat or an escape. It is an act of hope. Explain that statement.

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timbrady | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted October 7, 2008 at 12:56 PM (Answer #2)

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It's interesting that no one has answered this question in a day or so.  It suggests to me what I personally suspected:  there is no way that I can see John's suicide as an act of hope.  Perhaps someone else will have a different view of this, but I wanted to get this answer out there before the question "disappears" to see if anyone else has an alternate reading.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 7, 2008 at 9:09 PM (Answer #3)

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I agree that John's suicide is an act not of hope, but of despair.  For, he has found himself caught between two worlds and unhappy in both.  While he is the "Noble Savage" raised in a primitive society and untouched by the contamination of society, John does not understand either world and is hurt by the rejection of his father. 

Since there is no place for him to be in peace--when he finds an isolated spot curiosity seekers harass him--John loses all contentment.  If he has any hope, it must be in the next life as he kills himself in despair.

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mperrigin | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted March 10, 2009 at 8:02 AM (Answer #4)

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John's suicide can be interpreted as an act of hope by acknowledging individual free will. Free will is controlled in society through conditioning. In chapter 10, the D.H.C states " murder only kills the individual - what is an individual anyway?" The individual is not acknowledged as existing, however, John's act allows him to have complete control over his individuality. His demise is not formulated in the Predestination Room, but rather by his own action.


Additionally, the reader may experience a sense of "hope" as a result of John's suicide. John will no longer suffer from the prying eyes of society. He is once and for all able to experience peace through his act of suicide. The rite of passage he was denied on the reservation has now been realized in the lighthouse.

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emmie | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 29, 2009 at 9:30 AM (Answer #5)

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Love - Life = Peace

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 8, 2010 at 4:14 PM (Answer #6)

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I can kind of see where #4 is coming from - certainly suicide is always a triumph of free will, except if you accept Durkeim's theory of suicide, but I have to agree with other editors. John's death, for me at least, is a crushing indictment against what our future descendants have made of our world - the "brave new world," as John ironically alludes to it. Having indulged in what characterises this world, John sees how far humanity has fallen, and is so disgusted with both himself and this world that for him suicide is the only way he can properly express his disgust and dissatisfaction.

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